By Patrick Markey
Rural Ireland is famous for its variety of pubs in every town and village.
But The Glen, in Ballinskelligs, is perhaps one of the very few villages in the nation not to have a licensed premises, reports the Kerryman newspaper.
And it all came about because of a murder — in the only drinking spot in the village.
Local Glen historian John O’Sullivan told paper about the day that a murder in the parish called time on the one and only pub in the village.
"It happened between 1870 and 1880. A policeman was walking past the pub. Someone picked up a stone and threw it at him. The stone hit him on the head and he fell down dead," O’Sullivan said.
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"The pub was closed down and there has never been a licensed premises in the village since. It was the first and only pub in The Glen," he recalled.
Emigration has also taken its toll on The Glen. Before the Famine, there were in excess of 1,000 residents. Now only 200 people live there.
It was meant to help couples prepare for the challenges of married life.
But instead, the Catholic Church’s pre-marriage training course seems to be putting people off, according to a survey.
The Irish Independent newspaper reports that the church’s pre-marriage preparation courses received an "overwhelmingly negative" feedback in a survey of 80 couples, according to a new publication.
The courses focus too much on "tangible issues" such as mortgages and budgeting rather than on the more intimate side of relationships, the survey found. Most of the couples interviewed said they would prefer an alternative concentration on personalities, relationships and conflict resolution.
The findings of the survey are published in a new book When Strangers Marry A Study of Marriage Breakdown in Ireland.
Lawyers are apt to conjure up the most imaginative of defenses for their clients.
But last week two defense solicitors brought up Sherry trifle and wine gums in two separate cases of alleged drunken driving.
According to the Offaly Express, when one man was summoned to Tullamore District Court for being over the legal limit, his lawyer told the court that a sherry trifle could have put his client over the top.
"His reading is quite low. It is gone to the stage where sherry trifle can put you over the limit," he said.
"I don’t know where you eat sherry trifle," responded the judge.
The defendant was disqualified from driving for a year.
In a separate case a lawyer for another man quipped: "It may have been a packet of wine gums."
That line proved equally ineffective. The defendant was suspended from driving for three months.
Children are being recruited to sell bootleg alcohol door-to-door in Northern Ireland, a drinks industry group claimed recently.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that the Northern Ireland Drinks Industry Group (NIDIG) agrees alcohol bootlegging is fast becoming a major criminal operation in the province.
"In some areas of Northern Ireland it is reported that underage children have been recruited to sell bootlegged beer and spirits from door-to-door — and they are given access to what they are selling," said Tony Fleck, a NIDIG representative.
"Huge profits are being made, which end up in the coffers of local gangsters and paramilitaries. Every pound lost to the Treasury is a pound less for our schools and hospitals," Fleck said.